The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a report on Sept. 14 detailing how sequestration would affect various government agencies and programs.
The report only briefly mentions transportation in the introduction. “The Federal Aviation Administration’s ability to oversee and manage the nation’s airspace and air traffic control would be reduced,” says the report. According to the budgetary charts, some of the groups hit include air traffic control, border patrol agents, and scientific research.
The report details how roughly $120 billion in cuts to the Pentagon and domestic programs will be applied if Congress does not shut off a planned “sequester” before the end of the year, casting blame on Congress for failing to bring spending and taxes into line and address the nation’s $16 trillion debt.
“The report leaves no question that the sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments, and core government functions,” OMB wrote.
There would be a 9.4 percent cut to most defense programs — except those exempted in the sequestration law — and a 10 percent cut to a handful of other Pentagon accounts that are not subject to annual congressional appropriations. Medicare would get hit with a 2 percent cut, while domestic discretionary programs — such as scientific grants and Education Department programs — would be subject to 8.2 percent cuts. Most mandatory domestic programs — those that are funded based on eligibility — would be slashed by 7.6 percent.
Congress and the President agreed to impose these across-the-board cuts to government programs when they cut a deal to raise the debt limit in 2011. The idea was to spur lawmakers and the President to come up with surgical budget cuts — or tax increases — rather than suffer the blunt force trauma of automatic reductions affecting everything but Social Security, Medicaid and a handful of other programs that assist the most impoverished Americans.
A “Supercommittee” of legislators was designated to come up with a replacement plan, but that panel failed to make any progress on a deficit-reduction proposal.
HAI will be providing an in-depth analysis of the report next week in RotorNews®.